The government has tasked Zarnet, a state-enterprise- to buy Telecel, Zimbabwe’s third largest mobile phone provider, Information Communication Technology Minister Supa Mandiwanzira said today.
He said the majority shareholder of Telecel, VimpelCom, which owns 60 percent of the company, had offered to sell its stake to the government after the government objected to it selling that stake to an outside investor because Telecel shares had changed hands twice without the government earning any capital gains tax.
Mandiwanzira said since the government did not have cash, it had decided to give a state enterprise- Zarnet, a chance to buy the VimpelCom stake in Telecel.
Mandiwanzira said at the same time, the local shareholders, who own 40 percent of Telecel , had also decided to sell their stake to the government which means Zarnet can acquire 100 percent of the company.
The government cancelled Telecel’s operating licence in April but the company won a reprieve from the High Court. It says it is negotiating for its licence with the government.
Asked why the government had tasked Zarnet to buy Telecel when it was collapsing, Mandiwanzira said one of the ways to revive an ailing company was to give it a viable option.
Zarnet was founded in 1997 and has been operating as an internet service provider.